Pixie’s new chapter starts with an open mic and a multi-purpose coffee table

Pixie Literary Magazine debuts its new masthead and second volume with a night filled with performance

Dinu Mahapatuna, back right, seated in the crowd of Pixie’s open mic night. Photo Cate Gransaull

On the night of Sept. 29, Pixie Literary Magazine kicked off its second and latest volume with an open mic night at the Hive Café Solidarity Cooperative. The event garnered a turnout of around 80 participants and 22 performances.

At the back of the Hive, seats were lined up in front of a coffee table turned stage. Boots, sandals, sneakers and the odd bum would scuff up the stoney table during each performance. A larger, longer table set up to the left welcomed everyone with juice in winsome wine glasses and a cornucopia of sweet treats for all the poets and poetry lovers. 

Although doors opened at 7 p.m., the first performer wasn't introduced until about 7:30, as there was a mishap with the speakers. Regardless, the need for music was quickly trumped by the hum of chattering voices, and that was enough for Pixie Editor-In-Chief Dinu Mahapatuna.

Pixie’s open mic night created a freindly atmosphere for artists to share. Photo Cate Gransaull

Mahapatuna broke the ice by introducing herself and Pixie, then expressing her gratitude for all who attended.

“I never imagined this many people would come together to hear each other read,” said Mahapatuna while standing on the coffee table. 

As the night progressed, a buffet of short stories, poetry, prose, and original songs played on acoustic guitars and instrumentals were shared with the enthralled audience. Performers read one to two pieces. Additionally, poems were read in multiple languages, allowing for the flow and emotions to do the translation for all who might have not understood.

“I kind of came here to scout out other writers [...] I love performing and I love to see people perform,” said Gwen Aube, who spent her time on the coffee table reading two poems. Aube runs her own small magazine. Their first piece was about being in the wrong gendered washroom at the Eaton Centre in Toronto, “I hope [the poem] was sexy and weird,” Aube said. The second one was about harassing a nice person for friendship at a younger age.

On their Paul Reed Smith electric guitar, Benjamin Bolton didn't perform a poem, but an instrumental of “Buckets of Rain” by Bob Dylan. Bolton said although he was nervous, “[he] felt like it was a warm welcoming community.”

Bolton wasn't the only one who expressed their nervousness. 

“I started performing to sort of almost get over my anxiety,” said poet Mitchell Reedman. “And so this is the best way [to do so].”

Reedman performed two poems on the coffee table to overcome his nerves. The first poem was about a situationship from two years ago. The second piece was about getting really annoyed at Italians.

Everytime Mahapatuna noticed a smile, a chuckle, or a reaction from audience members, she knew Pixie was succeeding at its job. She said the magazine strives to accomplish the same sentiment with the new volume.

Mahapatuna sandwiched each performance with a joke, and at each lull between speakers, Mahapatuna would reel the audience back in from the world the performers tucked them into.

She followed one performance with, “The FDA called [...]The muffins were laced with a good time.”

Chariasse Flores, an artist who performed a song, noted how she was able to see some familiar faces. They bumped into a close friend of theirs without realizing they would be there. Flores emphasized how “the event brought people together.”

The event, albeit organized to launch Pixie’s second volume, created a welcoming environment for artists. Audrey Beaudoin performed two pieces. They explained why they love coming to open mics, additionally appreciating  how sharing and listening creates a healing environment.

“I am extremely excited [for the new volume]. Judging from the performances, the quality and the nature of everyone's talent, creativity and passion,” Mahapatuna said. She knows Pixie will knock their next issue out of the park. Pixie’s submissions are open to everyone on Monday, Oct. 2.

This article originally appeared in Volume 44, Issue 3, published October 3, 2023.